Don’t I know it.
My own hybrid, cross-disciplinary, limbo-state life and work is founded on this phenomenon that network science acknowledges.
Michael Simmons, author and cofounder of iEmpact, explains in “Why Being The Most Connected Is A Vanity Metric” at Forbes that your network is a set of clusters and when you manage to broker info between them you’re a game changer. And, being an info broker is a way of life, and you have to constantly fight the urge to relax into the comfort of a group you know. He points out being an info broker is a good foundation for entrepreneurship.
It’s no coincidence to me (or anyone else who read, wrote for, or commented at my hybrid identity discussion site expat+HAREM back in 2009! or anyone who’s familiar with the principles of my current community-driven, social web curriculum startup GlobalNiche) that this Forbes piece was written by a multicultural, multiethnic hybrid identity entrepreneur whose life has naturally made him an info broker between networks.
Peruse the expat+HAREM discussions on identity and hybridity. Look at the highlights of Rose Deniz’s podcast about living the hybrid life and what you leave behind in order to do so.
That’s echoed in Michael Simmons’ piece — the reason why we can’t get comfortable in one group if we want to participate in what he calls “the renaissance of network science” — is because we lose value and impact by staying ensconced there.
We need to move between all our clusters — online, offline, professional, personal, ethnic, family, school, friends, interests — bearing rich, precious, communal, resonant information. That’s our job (and our lifestyle) as network game changers.
I find there are so many ways to be ‘an expat’ (economically, socially, culturally) that studies like this one from HSBC that looks at economic opportunities and quality of life in 34 countries don’t begin to address, and therefore aren’t very useful.
Once a fellow expat came to my apartment in Istanbul with its view and modern appliances in the kitchen and said, “Oh I get it, this is the expat life everyone’s talking about.”
She lived in a village outside a minor city with the local ladies setting up a couch outside her living room window to ‘watch’ her like an exotic animal. That was her frugal backpacker choice.
Meanwhile, when I visited consulate- and corporate-package expats who lived in upscale, gated housing compounds and didn’t know the name of the street where they lived and didn’t eat Turkish food and asked me if it was wise to get involved with a Turkish man, that was a different kind of expat world.
And that range is just anecdotal, and one country. There were many more ways to be an expat in Turkey, with wildly different economic opportunities and qualities of life.
The only way to begin to get meaningful results from a survey of ‘expat’ experience is if equal numbers of people all along the expat/foreign national scale — economically, socially, culturally — participated in each country.
Pleased to join the Berkeley-based Seva Foundation in celebrating sight returned to 3.5 million people, at the Beaux-Arts Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco, along with Bay Area luminaries like Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, men in tie-dye suits and women in saris. In keeping with the groovy beginnings of the foundation, each place setting had its own bottle of soap bubbles.
The New York Times writes about the evening and the key role of Steve Jobs in helping to start the foundation with a $5,000 gift 35 years ago here.
Apparently 80% of blind people in the world can be cured with a 15 minute cataract surgery, which is what Seva set out to provide on a mass scale.
Seva was founded “by a group of medical professionals, counterculture activists, musicians, and compassionate individuals, all dedicated to the prevention of blindness around the globe” including public health expert Dr. Larry Brilliant, spiritual leader Ram Dass, and humanitarian activist Wavy Gravy. Dr. Brilliant is the former director of Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org.
Actor Peter Coyote was the MC of the evening which was capped by a performance by the Blind Boys of Alabama. I got chills when they asked the many ophthalmologists who donated their time and expertise over the past three decades to stand up and be recognized.
A highlight of the evening was founder Dr. Larry Brilliant returning to Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs an Apple 2 which Jobs donated to the cause for use in Katmandu in 1982.
Good to meet young epidemiologist Jen Olsen who’s manager of pandemics at Skoll Global Threats Fund established by eBay co-founder Jeff Skoll, where Dr. Brilliant is now president, and Amanda Marr Chung who was just finishing up her work with Seva.